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FEMS Microbiol Lett. 2006 Nov;264(1):31-9.

Development of species-specific PCR primer sets for the detection of Leptospira.

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Department of Clinical Investigation, Brooke Army Medical Center, Fort Sam Houston, TX 78234-6315, USA.


Spirochetes of the genus Leptospira infect animals and humans and are the causative agents for the emerging infectious disease leptospirosis. Rapid and simple assays for the identification of individual Leptospira species are currently not available. For identification of individual Leptospira species, PCR primers that detect the ompL1 gene sequence for the majority of pathogenic leptospires were developed in this study. The primer pairs detect Leptospira interrogans, Leptospira borgpetersenii, Leptospira kirschneri, Leptospira santarosai, Leptospira weilii and Leptospira noguchii, without cross-reacting with other Leptospira species. The development of the primers revealed a divergence of the ompL1 gene within L. interrogans, splitting this species into two separate groups. The species-specific primers will be especially useful in epidemiological studies and disease outbreak investigations for the detection of Leptospira species in human, animal and environmental samples.

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